Auto Shanghai features latest luxury SUVs

Shanghai Auto is a very important auto show because China is the world’s largest automobile market. Chinese bought more than 24 million cars in 2016.

The SUV market is growing, up 21 percent in the first quarter, and the fastest-growing segment of this market is the luxury SUV.


Mercedes Benz, Audi, BMW, Land Rover, and other foreign brands introduced their latest, most luxurious examples at Shanghai.

Audi hit two markets at once with its E-Tron Sportback.

“Audi has always been very successful in the Chinese market and we are happy and proud to present our car here in China,” said Martin Wimmer, project engineer at Audi.

“We also expect China to play a very important role in terms of electro-mobility so we thought it was logical and natural to present the car right here, in the center of where it is going to start,” he said.

Jaguar Land Rover saw Chinese sales increase 31 percent in 2016. It introduced the new Range Rover Velar, which was designed to have a very modern, very luxurious feel.

“We wanted to really give this incredibly clean, minimalist look, really emphasize the sophistication and the refinement of the vehicle,’ said Exterior Creative Director Massimo Frascella.

“As you can see, every single surface has been incredibly tailored to the millimeter to achieve this  incredible refinement feel. The flushness of all the elements and the graphic add to the modernity of the vehicle,” he said.

Several Chinese manufacturers offer SUVs but they cannot compete.

“It’s the brand image, because the luxury vehicles really need a history and also need a really excellent product with very good craftsmanship,” explained Yale Zhang, auto analyst for Auto Insight.

“The local brands now have some pretty good products for the mainstream market: 100,00 RMB (US$ 15,000) for family cars. But for this kind of premium luxury products, there is still a gap to catch up,” he said.

Ford understands this image of luxury. Its premium Lincoln brand trades on its exclusivity.

 

“Last year we sold about 33,000 units, we were up three times (compared to) the prior year, and we are very pleased with the way we are positioning this with our customers,” said Dave Schoch, Ford vice president, president, Asia and CEO for Ford China.

“We are not here to satisfy everybody. We are here to have a very personalized experience in the dealership.

“We call it ‘one size fits one’. It is very important to our customers and the premium image of Lincoln,” he said.

Lincoln is selling image more than automobile, and obviously, customers are willing to buy.

Auto Shanghai is open to the public from April 21 to 28 2017.

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